At the beginning of 2013, I made a resolution of sorts. Speaking with a close friend, she shared that she had made a goal to read at least six books in the New Year. I immediately decided to steal her idea. Knowing I had more time on my hands than she did, I also doubled it. I thought that 12 books would be a great goal. That would only leave me pressured to read one book every month.
Speaking with another friend about this goal, she encouraged me to read as much as possible since being fired. I realized how much time I had on my hands, and she reminded me that I may never have this much time to read ever again. So I embraced my goal with abandon. By March, I had already met my goal of 12 books. Six months of unemployment will allow you a lot of time to read. Reading is a great way to avoid writing.
I managed to clear off a few items from my Amazon wish list and I knew I could do even better, upping my goal to 24 books. Now, here we are four months into 2013 and I have completed my 24th book. These are the books that I’ve completed so far.
Gossip Girl Books
The same friend who encouraged me to read more, also encouraged me to embrace my inner 14 year old girl. In November of 2012 I decided that I wanted to watch Gossip Girl. I became instantly hooked and when I told my friend about it, she offered to let me borrow her collection of books. I finished the entire show by the beginning of January 2013 and now I’ve nearly completed the entire collection of books. My life will once again be very empty once I am forced to say goodbye to my spirit animal, Serena Van Der Woodsen.
- Gossip Girl #1 by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- Gossip Girl #2: You Know You Love Me by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- Gossip Girl #3: All I Want is Everything by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- Gossip Girl #4: Because I’m Worth it by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- Gossip Girl #5: I Like it Like That by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- Gossip Girl #6: You’re the One That I Want by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- Gossip Girl #7: Nobody Does it Better by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- Gossip Girl #8: Nothing Can Keep Us Together by Cecily Von Ziegesar
All three of these books revolve around movies that I have seen. In all cases, I saw the movie before reading the book. Fifth Avenue, 5AM… is a must read for any fan of Audrey Hepburn or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Vow… and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are equally as great as the films bearing the same names.
- Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie by Kim Carpenter, Krickitt Carpenter, Dana Wilkerson
Reading for Inspiration
I often find it odd that in a book store, the inspirational section usually means that the books are religious. Each of these books brought inspiration to my life and none of them are religious. I found writing inspiration from Koren Zailckas, a local writer who’s writing about her own life experiences with amazing honesty. I found comedic writing inspiration from Freeman Hall who writes about his experience working in retail hell, a place I’m all too familiar with. I found honest life inspiration from Kelly Cutrone who I still hope to meet one day while casually shopping at Target in Poughkeepsie. I also found inspiration for survival from Barbara Ehrenreich who managed to live on wages close to or lower than what I’m living on now. She certainly had to find ways to shop on a budget and I understood most of her struggles.
- Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
- Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone
- Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store by Freeman Hall
Books I’m Not Quite Sure About
All four of these books are not necessarily ones I would recommend reading, but I definitely read them. And yes, I marginally enjoyed reading Sarah Palin as much as I enjoyed reading Pamela Anderson.
- Son of a Witch: Volume Two in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire
- Star by Pamela Anderson
- Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin
- 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort
I’ve read every book that Chelsea Handler has written and her latest was just as funny as all the others. It was great to read the writings of her family and friends who love her, even if she plays the worst pranks ever on all of them. Sloane Crosley is a brilliant writer who also inspires me, but mostly makes me laugh. I cannot wait to read her first collection of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake
- Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea’s Family, Friends and Other Victims, Chelsea Handler
- How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley
Nicholas Sparks Books
Within my first month of unemployment, I had a confession to make. I love Nicholas Sparks. I’ve now seen all of his books-turned-movies and I’ve (mostly) enjoyed every single one. Somewhere along the way I decided that I should read every single one of his books. That’s how I’ve come to read three titles by him this year and I plan to read the rest (14) as soon as I can.
- Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
- Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
- The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Also “Read” in 2013
Although it isn’t counted by most of my friends, I still “read” Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by Anderson Cooper. But because it was on audio CD and I only listened to it, no one’s counting it. But if you’d like to count it, then so far in 2013 I’ve read 25 books! I would definitely recommend hearing Anderson tell his stories first hand. I’ve also enjoyed hearing Kathy Griffin’s book read this way as well as most of David Sedaris’ work.
Next on My Reading List
Since I’ve now completed both of my initial goals, I’m going to commit to reading 36 books in 2013. There are still 20 books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read including the rest of the Gossip Girl series, Sarah Palin’s second book, a book written in Spanish and many others. There are also the rest of Nicholas Sparks’ books to be obtained and read. As long as I read 1.5 books per month, I can certainly meet this goal even when I finally am back to work.
Leave me some book suggestions in the comments below!